By Grace Usher
At the American School of Shao-Lin Kempo, Sensei Zach Pearlswig brings the traditional Kung-fu form of martial arts to the Lake Havasu City community. Pearlswig has been studying the system for more than 25 years with his father as the headmaster of the nationwide program.
Students of the program range from young children who are just learning the basics of self-discipline, focus, and integrity to seniors looking for fitness and gentle relaxation.
As students of the program, individuals learn the essential skills of self-defense with eastern forms as the basis. The program channels ancient Shao lin Kung-fu, one of the oldest civilian kung-fu methods. Their unique program combines that with Street-style Kempo.
Traditional low-impact defense weaponry is taught as well.
“It’s an old-school martial art. This system has been around since 465 AD. We just teach one style that covers a lot of forms,” Perlswig said.
Though martial arts is commonly (and incorrectly) associated with violence, the American School of Shao Lin Kempo focuses on self-defense, self-discipline, focus and respect. These pillars define the company’s moral and cultural backing in each training.
In addition to students integrated into the learning system, Perlswig offers classes for individuals and private groups such as Shao-Lin, Women’s Self Defense, Tai Chi, and Chi Kung.
“Our system is defensive in nature. The students of our system don’t learn to be aggressive, it’s about self-defense.”
When in the dojo (training area), electronics are not permitted. The area is intended to be a sanctuary for those who are serious about their teachings and for those who wish to disconnect from the stress of the modern world.
“Many teenagers see this place as their temple. They will do their homework in the lobby, come into the back and just sit and breathe.”
The American School of Shao-Lin Kempo aims to give those individuals a better understanding of their mind, body, and soul with a holistic approach.
The school is currently accepting new students into all its classes. There are opportunities for private lessons as well as by appointment.